GAR 100 - 9th Edition

Bofill Mir & Álvarez Jana Abogados

Professional notice

A win against Bolivia at ICSID cements the Chilean firm’s reputation

People in Who’s Who Legal1
Pending cases as counsel14
Value of pending counsel workUS$780 million
Treaty cases2
Current arbitrator appointments3 (of which 0 is
as sole or chair)
Lawyers sitting as arbitrator1

Chile’s most active player in investment treaty arbitration, Bofill Mir & Álvarez Jana largely owes its reputation in the field to Harvard-educated partner Andrés Jana, a former government lawyer who has helped to negotiate several of Chile’s free trade agreements. He is a member of the ICSID panel of arbitrators and the London Court of International Arbitration.

Other names to know are partner Rodrigo Gil, who has practised with Arnold & Porter, and Dutch-born counsel Johanna Klein Kranenberg. She has successfully defended Chile in Dutch court litigation involving sovereign immunity issues, and also advised Eritrea in a successful claim for war damages before the Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission in The Hague.

In 2013, the firm added Russian and German educated Elina Mereminskaya as an associate, who brought five years’ experience as special counsel at Chile’s main arbitration centre, CAM Santiago.

Who uses it?

Chilean and international companies often turn to the firm to advise in arbitrations at CAM Santiago as well as foreign-seated cases with a Chilean-law component. The firm’s international clients have included AES, Bechtel, Domino’s Pizza, Japan’s Mitsui and Lumina, Canadian mining companies New Gold and Quadra, Colombian confectioner Colombina and Brazilian engineering company Alusa.

Clients in Chile include state-owned copper company Codelco, Antofagasta Minerals, ENAP Refinerías, pharmaceuticals distributor Pentafarma and the National Association of Professional Soccer.

The government of Chile, Chilean mining company Quiborax and Swiss airport services company Flughafen Zurich have all turned to the firm for ICSID matters.

Track record

At ICSID, the firm’s track record is excellent. Most recently, it obtained a US$48 million award for Quiborax in September 2015, in a nine-year case against Bolivia over the cancellation of a mining concession. Bolivia is now seeking to have the award annulled.

In the previous year, it also helped Flughafen Zurich and its Chilean partner win around US$19 million plus interest in an ICSID claim against Venezuela over a Caribbean island airport concession. Notably, the tribunal made a rare finding of denial of justice against the state.

Another victory at ICSID came in 2007, when the practice helped the government of Chile defeat a claim by a Spanish investor over fishing rights. The tribunal threw out the case on jurisdictional grounds because the Spain–Chile bilateral investment treaty was not in force when the investor was first denied his licence. That decision was upheld by an annulment committee in 2010. For both sets of proceedings, Bofill Mir was co-counsel with Arnold & Porter (where Jana was a foreign associate in the 1990s).

The firm has also had a hand in important arbitration-related Chilean court precedents. In 2014, Bofill Mir helped the European Southern Observatory, a Munich-based astronomical research body, defeat a set-aside petition before the Santiago Court of Appeal, a decision that dispelled doubts as to whether foreign lawyers were permitted to appear in international cases seated in Chile.

In 2013, the firm persuaded the country’s Supreme Court to dismiss an appeal against the recognition of an ICC award in favour of its client, Domino’s Pizza, establishing that such a recourse was inadmissible.

Recent events

Counsel Rodrigo Quintana was promoted to partner after four years at the firm. He is also an adviser to the State Defence Board, which represents the interests of Chile against local claims against it, and has previously worked for the Organization of American States. Rodrigo Gil was elected chair of the civil law department at the University of Chile.

Away from his arbitration work, Jana is among the legal advisers to Chile in its dispute with Bolivia at the International Court of Justice. The court ruled in September 2015 that it has jurisdiction to decide whether Chile has an obligation to negotiate with Bolivia over sovereign access to the Pacific, but has yet to decide on the merits. Jana has previously advised Chile in a maritime boundary dispute with Peru at the ICJ.

Client comment

The European Southern Observatory praises Jana and Gil as “very skilled and dedicated professionals” whose “precise and convincing” arguments were fully adopted by the Santiago Court of Appeal in the case mentioned above.

Bofill Mir & Alvarez Jana is a full service Chilean law firm recognised for providing innovative and effective client service in a broad range of practices areas. The firm’s 70 plus attorneys come from the most prestigious universities in Chile, and many have LLMs from the finest programmes in North America, Europe and Chile and have worked in major international law firms abroad.

 

Main practice areas

International Arbitration: Comprised of both national and international lawyers, BMAJ is one of the leading international arbitration firms in Latin America and offers quality comparable to the world’s leading law firms. BMAJ constantly acts in arbitrations under the rules of ICSID, ICC, UNCITRAL and LCIA, as well as in ad hoc arbitrations.

Arbitration: The firm is well-regarded as having the largest and most experienced arbitration team in Chile. BMAJ frequently represents clients in the biggest and most complex domestic arbitrations, both under the rules of the Arbitration and Mediation Centre of the Santiago Chamber of Commerce (CAM Santiago) and in ad hoc proceedings. BMAJ is continuously setting the standard in the practice of domestic arbitrations.

Civil and Commercial Litigation: This practice is deeply involved in public interest litigation and complex cases requiring the collaboration of different legal fields. BMAJ has experience with disputes before lower level courts, courts of appeal and the Supreme Court.

Corporate Law: A strong team of corporate law specialists guide clients through the implementation of, and compliance with, the increasingly complex rules and regulations of company law and corporate governance. The corporate lawyers offer counsel to clients on a broad range of business activities including complex reorganisations, structuring and negotiation of commercial transactions in all sectors of Chile’s diverse economy.

Mergers and Acquisitions: The solid, broad base of knowledge and experience of the lawyers permits the firm to provide comprehensive counsel in mergers and acquisitions matters, and has positioned BMAJ as a leader in the development, negotiation and execution of complex and innovative mergers and acquisitions transactions, both domestic and cross-border. The team is highly qualified in areas of commercial, finance, tax, labour, administrative and competition law matters, among others.

Banking, Finance and Capital Markets: This practice provides advice to banks, financial institutions and private businesses, both Chilean and foreign. The firm has a strong background in project financing in diverse areas of the economy, including real estate, retail, power generation, mining, and oil and gas sectors.

Administrative Law, Environmental Law and regulated markets: At the forefront of these matters in Chile, this team acts on behalf of multinational companies, local enterprises and state entities in matters relating to regulated sectors such as energy, telecommunications, land use and development, public transport, water law, customs law, environmental law, public procurement, health services, gaming and casinos, and advertising.

Antitrust and Unfair Competition: BMAJ has a specialised department with experience in complex merger reviews, cartel investigations, concentration and abuse of dominant position issues, market definition, unfair competition and counsel in connection with investigations conducted by the Antitrust Authorities (FNE).

Mining and Natural Resources: The members of this practice group are recognised in the mining sector both in Chile and abroad as leaders in their field and are highly specialised in mining, geothermal power and water law. The team also has deep experience in the financing of mining projects.

Energy: This vibrant energy practice advises project developers, operators, financial backers and public authorities in matters related to power generation, transmission and distribution. Our counsel covers renewable energy sources including solar, wind, run of river and geothermal as well as traditional energy sources.

Construction, Infrastructure and Real Estate: BMAJ possesses significant expertise in the counselling of national and foreign clients acting as investors, shareholders, developers, contractors or suppliers of construction, real estate and infrastructure projects.

Labour: This practice advises the firm’s clients in all sectors of the Chilean economy both regarding daily operational matters such as hiring, terminations, compliance matters and collective bargaining negotiations as well as with long-term strategic analysis and planning of their employment concerns.

Tax: Working in conjunction with members of the other practice areas of the firm, the tax specialists provide creative tax planning, permitting the firm’s clients to reach their business goals in a tax effective manner.

Telecommunications (TMT): BMAJ has significant expertise in providing comprehensive advice to different operators in the telecommunications and broadcasting sector, including telephone, mobile and internet service providers, broadcast television channels and telecom tech service providers.

 

Bofill, Mir & Álvarez Jana

Av. Andrés Bello 2711, piso 8
7550611 Las Condes, Santiago
Chile
Tel: +562 2757 7600
Fax: +562 2757 7601
www.bmaj.cl / [email protected]

 

Arbitration contacts:

Andrés Jana, partner, [email protected]

Tel. +56 2 2757 7807

Rodrigo Gil, partner, [email protected]

Tel. +56 2 2757 7610

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